Intro to Speed Workouts: 3 Ways to Add Speed Into Your Training
Adding speed workouts to your training is a very delicate endeavor. It’s important to start small when beginning with faster running to keep the risk for injury, burnout, and overtraining low. Start with these three workouts and, if done properly, they’ll help you become a stronger and faster runner.
For many runners, building speed, setting a PR, or wanting to give a finishing kick in a race is a goal at some point in their running journey. Easy, aerobic running plays a huge role in our progress and is our foundation. Once we’ve built a solid mileage base, it’s not uncommon for runners to look for next challenge. Typically, slowly adding in speed workouts is the subsequent step and can take our fitness to the next level.
Keep in mind, speed work should be done once a week max when first starting out. Undoubtedly, the most important thing is to start small and not overdo it. The purpose of speed workouts is not to leave you on the side of the road losing a lung. Instead, we want to “touch speed”, not run as hard as we can for as long as possible!
What Are the Benefits of Speed Workouts?
If done properly, speed workouts have many benefits, which include:
- Improving running form
- Increasing cadence
- Improving running efficiency
- Building fast twitch muscle fibers
- Breaking out from a running plateau
- Strengthening our mentality
Now, the benefits we gain from speed work is a reflection of our recovery. Continue prioritizing rest and recovery running so you head into each speed workout feeling your best!
Related: Recovery for Runners: 5 Tips to Help You Rebuild After a Run
3 Ways to Slowly Add Speed Workouts Into Your Training:
There are many different types of speed workouts and each has a purpose and place in your training. However, if you are just starting out, begin with the following three and it’s likely your running will start to transform.
To begin, strides are the first step to adding faster running to your training. After you’ve been consistently running at least 15 miles per week, add two to four strides once or twice a week after an easy run.
Read all about strides, their benefits, and how to run strides.
Secondly, fartlek workouts are an effective way to slowly introduce speed into your training. Unlike other speed workouts, fartleks are very unstructured – you get to make up the workout as you go! Even with less structure, fartleks are a sure way to make you a stronger, faster, and smarter runner.
Learn how to run fartleks and read through 3 sample workouts.
Finally, hill training is another way to add speed into your training. What’s great about running hills is that even at an easy effort, hills can improve your speed, among many other things.
Learn why hills should be a part of your training no matter what!
Whether you’re running a fartlek workout or heading for the hills, make sure you carry fluids with you to stay hydrated! The Nathan SpeedDraw Insulated Flask is perfect for carrying on speed workouts. Just fill it with Nuun Sport Electrolytes and you’re ready to go!
Ready for Speed Workouts?
I would love to help you reach your running goals! Email me at [email protected] or check out my Run Coaching Services page to learn more.
Do you incorporate speed workouts into your training?
If so, what is your favorite type of speed workout and why?